By: S. Sivaselvam
Pix by Pkk and Photo Unit, UKM Press
BANGI, 24 Sept, 2011 - Profesor Dr. Freda Andrea Meah @ Myint Myint Mu, 67, one of the world’s top endocrine surgeons, was today named Professor Emerita at the 39th UKM Convocation here today by Chancellor and Yang di-Pertuan Besar Negeri Sembilan, Tuanku Muhriz Ibni Almarhum Tuanku Munawir.
Her career path began with a degree in medicine from the University of Rangoon in her native Myanmar in 1964. Although her early education was in that country, almost all of her career and service as a surgeon has been in Malaysia.
Prof Meah’s career in Malaysia began in early 1969 when she became a lecturer in the Anatomy Department of Universiti Malaya. Her drive to expand her knowledge and rise in her field led her to spend a year at the University of Washington, Seattle, in the US for a year.
In 1976 she became a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, qualifying her to become among the first female surgeons in Malaysia.
Prof Meah joined the UKM family in 1973. She was among the pioneers who set up the surgical department in the Medical Faculty. Their efforts led to the Medical Faculty being distinguished as a centre of excellence in training surgeons in Malaysia.
She also succeeded in making the UKM Medical Centre a major referral centre for endocrine surgery and other difficult surgeries. Many of those who trained under her are successful surgeons in Malaysia and overseas.
As an academician, she was active in research and has published more than 100 papers. She is frequently invited for talks at national and international conferences.
In 1996 Prof Meah became President of the Asian Endocrine Surgeons Association and organised the association’s first conference in Malaysia.
While in UKM, Prof Meah was known as a gentle person, but she was also firm and exercised discipline. Surgery students at UKM knew this all too well – every morning while on duty, she would begin her class or go on ward rounds at seven sharp.
In her acceptance speech, Prof Meah described her becoming Professor Emerita as the greatest honour to be recognised by the University for the services she has given to UKM for over 35 years.
“Since I was a young girl, I have always wanted to be doctor. In medical college, my surgical lecturers inspired me to be a surgeon,” she said.
“In 1973, UKM gave me the opportunity to be trained as a surgeon. I am grateful for that opportunity.”
Prof Meah spoke of UKM becoming the first centre for combined endocrine and breast surgery in 1978 and declared: “UKM has always been my second home and my colleagues and my trainees are my extended family. I will always serve UKM in any way I can and UKM will always be a part of my life.”